I spoke at length about the 1980s dumbing down of public education complete with taking books out of classrooms and handing calculators to children just learning math. Anyone would be able to predict that students would then not be able to read or do math. Stanford, Princeton, Harvard were all the education policy writers then as they are now. Reagan placed the empire-building wealth inequity policy in overdrive and breaking down democratic education is always the first step in creating an autocratic society. Fast forward to today and you see the results......US education standards are at the bottom of the developed world and this is now the excuse to carry out the second phase.....integrating public education into corporations as K-college job training.
I shared the connection these privatizers have to the Chinese model of education.......testing children in pre-school and using these tests to determine what skills this child will have and then tracking the children throughout their school years in that vocation. The Chinese government decides where and what the child will study; these tests are given throughout K-12 and classrooms are geared towards teaching to the test and memorization. SOUND FAMILIAR?
This is indeed the model Bill Gates and Wall Street are trying to push on the public as Obama's Race to the Top attempts to set the ground work for this model. Charters tied to business interests, teaching to the test, and skills assessment that begins in Kindergarten are exactly that. Baltimore has this system being pushed by Johns Hopkins and enabled by O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake with Wall Street's Bloomberg sending money to enact these reforms. This system will capture 90-95% of American students as only 5-10% of students will qualify as superior learners. All of the education data will be sold to education businesses who will use the data to develop education material to then sell back to the government to provide for classroom canned course programming presented to children via registered online instructors. All students will have the same course content as outlined in Common Core.
When you hear teachers shouting that the evaluation and testing is not needed and offering no value, they are shouting loudly that this is not the direction the American people want to take education. When parents shout that they are losing control of their neighborhood schools and school boards... this is what they are shouting. THIS IS SERIOUS FOLKS. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MAKING EDUCATION BETTER,.....IT ONLY HAS TO DO WITH MAKING EDUCATION ALL ABOUT CORPORATE JOB TRAINING AND HANDS YOUR CHILD INTO THE CONTROL OF THE BUSINESS THAT DECIDES THE CHILD HAS SKILLS THEY CAN USE.
Remember, this will include almost all of children in the US. This will end democratic education, democratic freedom to choose your path in life, free will, equal opportunity......IT ENDS ALL OF WHAT THE CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES ITS CITIZENS. See why they are rewriting the Constitution in these Trade Deals? I have talked at length about the corporatization of universities so this is the next phase these privatizers are trying to take. We do not want our universities or our K-12 privatized.
YOU MUST SHOUT LOUDLY AGAINST THESE REFORMS.....YOU MUST RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE.....YOU MUST PROTEST AND SUPPORT YOUR TEACHERS AND ACADEMICS WHO ARE FIGHTING THESE REFORMS!
We can easily turn this around but if you do not tell everyone you know to tell everyone they know what is happening and to fight it......we will have a Chinese-style autocratic system of schools controlled by corporations.
THEY ARE NOT ASKING YOU IF YOU WANT THIS.....THEY ARE TELLING YOU THIS IS HOW IT WILL BE BECAUSE THEY ARE CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS AND REPUBLICANS!
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE IN ALL ELECTIONS!!
The Baltimore Teacher's Union shouted loudly and strongly that Maryland's Teacher's Union leaders are not standing with the rank and file and instead working to push the agenda of the privatization pols like O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake!!
Wednesday Jul 3, 2013 2:31 pm
Reformers Win D.C. Teachers Union Election, Make Gains in Newark
By Bhaskar Sunkara
The district's push for so-called education reform has long been a sticking point for the Washington Teachers Union, as evinced by this poster criticizing officials Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty from a 2009 rally. The perceived capitulation of several WTU presidents to such an agenda has forced them to leave office. (mar is sea y/Flickr/Creative COmmons)
This week, Washington Teachers Union (WTU) members elected a reform slate, ousting incumbent president Nathan Saunders in a run-off election.
With the vote, the WTU follows in the footsteps of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), which elected the insurgent Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), led by Karen Lewis, in 2010. Like CORE, the DC reformers promise to resist school closures, privatization efforts, and the proliferation of high-stakes testing.
The WTU certified the results Monday night, with Elizabeth A. Davis winning 459 votes to Saunders’ 380.
Davis’ running mate, Candi Peterson, spoke to In These Times by phone this morning. This is Peterson’s second time assuming the office of WTU’s General Vice President, after being elected on a reform ticket with Saunders in 2010. In that campaign, Saunders and Peterson accused the incumbent WTU President George Parker of running a business union and critiqued his allegiance to American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, who had encouraged the union to accept an unpopular contract—which included the implementation of IMPACT, a teacher evaluation system —supported by then-school chancellor Michelle Rhee and mayor Adrian Fenty.
Reflecting on her first stint as general vice president—she was dismissed by Saunders in 2011—Peterson says, “Saunders didn’t share my vision of what a participatory union looks like.” She paints a picture of a union that was run by one man and failed to sufficiently engage members to advocate for their own rights. This time, Peterson hopes, will be different; she and new president Elizabeth A. Davis promise more rank-and-file participation.
On certain substantive issues, the camps are not too far apart. Saunders remained hostile to many aspects of the corporate reform efforts, but it wasn’t enough to appease members. Speaking to the Washington Post, he said, “They want more aggressive change than what I was dishing out.”
That isn’t to say the former president’s tenure wasn’t filled with fireworks. Though Peterson was directly elected as general vice president in 2010, she was removed by Saunders the next year without any recall procedure, which violates union guidelines. She won in arbitration in September, but was not reinstated afterwards to serve the duration of her original term. Even now, she’s having trouble assuming office. The WTU constitution allows for no lame duck period, and when Saunders was elected in late November 2010, he took control of the union the next day. Yet Peterson and others in the reform slate were denied entry to the office yesterday. Peterson described the transference of power as a “hostile situation,” but while Saunders declined to comment, a staffer within his camp told In TheseTimes that he believes the old leadership would not vacate until the end of the month.
The nationwide push to standardize, privatize and shut down public schools has sparked an opposition movement both inside and outside teachers unions. Though media attention has focused on the actions of teachers and students in Chicago and New York, fronts have been opened in places like Newark and Washington, as well. In Newark, facing challenge from reformers local President Joseph Del Grosso was elected by a margin of just nine votes last Tuesday. The challengers, like the Washington teachers, were openly inspired by the example of CORE, and still won a majority of executive board seats.
As has become common in American union elections, only 1,200 of 3,000 Newark Teachers Union members cast ballots, but the showing against a long-time incumbent surprised many. The result there, like the one in Washington, will cause some alarm for Weingarten and her team. Not unlike tactics used years ago in Washington, the AFT leadership had recently mobilized national organizers in Newark to promote a contract that won the acceptance of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
The results in Newark and DC, long laboratories of neoliberal education reform, represent part of a grassroots backlash to these kinds of policies. It remains to be seen, however, whether these local efforts will be enough to stop what has long been a national push to redefine public education along corporate lines.
I spoke about how the elite schools are trying to make all leadership positions in government and business available to only graduates of their programs and are creating a tiered level of higher education to reflect that. So career colleges are now simply job training programs to poverty jobs and public universities will lead to professions that will be paid ever less as wages fall. Teachers, nurses, lawyers, and accountants for example are all seeing their wages fall closer to poverty. It will continue if you keep electing Third Way corporate neo-liberals rather than labor and justice next elections!
The Deepening Caste System in Higher Education
Posted by martinkich
July 8, 2013
Many commentators on what is undermining higher education have focused on administrative bloat, on the increasing allocation of revenues to non-instructional or administrative positions.
Some have pointed to the increasing exploitation of adjunct faculty at most institutions, citing the very minimal compensation, the non-existent benefits, the general lack of staff support, and the complete lack of employment security that are characteristic of adjunct positions.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, others have emphasized the ever-increasing expectations of tenured faculty—in their teaching loads, in the number of publications they are expected to produce and the grant dollars they are expected to attract, and in the range and depth of their service responsibilities—expectations that have seem to have risen in proportion to the decline in the percentage of faculty who are tenured and on tenure tracks.
Those concerned about the increasing reliance on adjunct faculty might be inclined to scoff at the concerns of those who focus, instead, on the increasing demands on tenured faculty. And, if simply compared to adjunct faculty, tenured faculty are certainly a much more “privileged” group.
But this sort of debate serves the purposes of no one beyond those who wish to continue to argue, against all evidence, that faculty, and in particular tenured faculty, are the source of everything that ails higher education.
In the deepening “caste system” in higher education, the only “faculty” who are prospering are those who are so atypical as to demand the creation a different classification altogether.
Consider the following news items.
On May 7, 2013, the Chicago Tribune reported provided a progress report of sorts on the return to the faculty ranks of Richard Herman, the former Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Herman resigned following what the newspaper described as a “high-profile admissions scandal.” Actually, the newspaper had been the primary reason that the scandal had come to any public attention. The newspaper’s reporters uncovered evidence that Herman and others in his administration may have interceded to have under-qualified students admitted to the university because of their political connections to the administration and political associates of then Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich, who was himself already at the focus of multiple investigations, had already been forced out of office, and would ultimately be sentenced to a prison term for corruption. The scandal involving Herman had broken in May 2009, and by October 2009, Herman had tendered his resignation.
Herman remained with the university as a professor of education at a salary of $212,000 per year. The normal load for a professor in the College of Education is four courses per year, but Herman’s contract stipulates that he will be expected to teach half of that load, or two courses per year. But the Tribune uncovered evidence that because several of Herman’s courses had been cancelled and he had not been given alternative teaching assignments, he had , in effect, had a one-course teaching load for several successive years. Moreover, he had established a residence in Chicago and was commuting downstate to the Urbana-Champaign campus once each week.
In a much more recent news item, ABC News reported on July 7, 2013, that former general David Petraeus, who was forced to resign as C.I.A. director because he had conducted a clandestine extramarital affair with his biographer, has been hired as an adjunct professor by the City University of New York’s Macaulay Honors College. Petraeus will be paid $150,000 for teaching one three-hour seminar, enrolling15 to 20 students, in the fall semester 2013. (Given that CUNY has an enrollment of about 270,000, one wonders why the course isn’t being MOOC’d.) His salary for this one course is 50 times the $3,000 per course that most CUNY adjunct faculty receive, and it is more than three times the average annual salary of $47,500 for non-tenure-eligible full-time faculty at CUNY campuses. As if these elements of Petraeus’ contract were not outrageous enough, the university has stipulated the following in his contract: “In addition, we will provide the graduate student support mentioned above to assist you with course research, administration, and grading, as well as limited travel funds for professional meetings attended as a CUNY representative.”
Of course, when the news of this appointment broke, the CUNY administration immediately presented three arguments that were so predictable as to be almost laughable: (1) Petraeus has received better offers from other institutions; (2) the money for his compensation has been raised entirely from private sources and designated for that purpose; and (3) Petraeus has designated that a portion of his salary would be donated to veterans groups.
What both of these news items illustrate is, again, the deepening caste system in higher education in which the rules that apply to faculty and the fiscal constraints that affect their compensation and workload do not apply at all to former administrators who “return” to the faculty ranks, even in some disgrace, or to “prestige” hires who provide current administrators with desirable photo-ops and something of “real interest” to talk about in community reports on the state of their institutions.
In both these instances, a sense of privilege and a sense of entitlement have trumped even the business standards to which our increasingly corporatized institutions are ostensibly being held. They demonstrate that universities aren’t really comparable to corporations, and most administrators are not professional managers. The closest business model is, in practice, not the publicly owned and publicly accountable corporation but, instead, the privately owned business in which the owners can, without repercussion, periodically reward their favorites and indulge their more eccentric whims. And that would be okay, except for the fact that both of these situations occurred at publicly funded universities that should be more strictly accountable both to the students paying ever-higher tuition and to the taxpayers providing public subsidies.
These teachers know towards where this reform is going and they are fighting for the future of education. Do not believe it is the teachers who are causing the lower quality of education......it was planned as a step towards the goal of autocratic education.
Third Way corporate neo-liberals are the ones pushing this reform and republicans have been trying to move schools in this direction for decades. VOTE YOUR NEO-LIBERAL OUT OF OFFICE....STOP RE-ELECTING THEM!
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS!
Chicago Rising! A resurgent protest culture fights back against Rahm Emanuel’s austerity agenda.
Rick Perlstein July 2, 2013 | This article appeared in the July 22-29, 2013 edition of The Nation
Karen Lewis, center, president of the CTU is joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, left, and United States Representative Bobby Rush, right, during a demonstration and march over the a plan to close fifty-four Chicago Public Schools through Chicago's downtown Wednesday, March 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
On a sunny saturday this past May, far down on the city’s black South Side where corner stores house their cashiers behind bulletproof plexiglass, about 150 activists assembled at Jesse Owens Community Academy. In just a few days, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s appointed Board of Education would vote on the largest simultaneous school closing in recent history. Owens, along with fifty-three other public schools, was on the chopping block. A recent Chicago Tribune/WGN poll found that more than 60 percent of Chicago citizens opposed the closings, and a healthy cross section of them had turned out for the first of three straight days of marches in protest.
About the Author Rick Perlstein Rick Perlstein is the author of Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, winner of... Also by the Author How the Powerful Derail Accountability: The Case of Intelligence Reform (Part II) (Government, Historical Events, Politics) When momentum gathered to reign in the national security state in 1976, the powers that be struck back with a distraction campaign that worked.
Rick Perlstein How the Powerful Derail Accountability: The Case of Intelligence Reform (Part I) (Society) In 1975, two hard-hitting congressional committees, and dogged media investigators, documented how badly broken the intelligence community was.
Rick Perlstein Women in red Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) T-shirts registered participants; a vanload of purple-shirted SEIU marchers lingered in excited anticipation; an activist from the city’s Anti-Eviction Campaign, which breaks into and takes over foreclosed houses, donned a parade marshal’s orange vest; two street medics from the Occupy-associated Chicago Action Medical checked on some elderly marchers who arrived in a church bus. The music teacher at Owens, a former minister, asked rhetorically, “Will I have a job on Monday?” She answers her own question: “That’s OK.” A white, middle-class mother with two kids in the system, who traveled almost 100 blocks to be here, told me that she is a Republican but that “people on the right don’t like being pushed around by overbearing government.”
There were signs representing Jobs With Justice and the community-labor umbrella group Grassroots Collaborative. Another sign snarked: if rahm and his unelected school board ever set foot in a CPS school perhaps their math wouldn’t be so bad. The president of Michigan’s American Federation of Teachers spoke. Then a parent mocked public schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s recent invocation of Martin Luther King at a City Club of Chicago speech: “How can you call this a civil rights movement when you resegregate our schools, decimate our teacher corps and destabilize our neighborhoods?”
The march stepped off, passing boarded-up houses and auction signs; a CTU staffer called cadence (“I don’t know but it’s been said/ Billionaires on the Board of Ed”). Supporters shouted out in solidarity from front porches. When we passed the first of five closing schools along our seven-mile route, a clutch of 10-year-olds bearing handmade signs joined in and got turns at the bullhorn. I noticed something striking: again and again, when the CTU yell-leader barked out the first half of a new chant (“We need teachers, we need books”), everybody already knew the second line: “We need the money that Rahhhhhhm took!”
They know the words because they’ve been here before. The CTU beat Rahm in a historic strike this past September and hasn’t stopped fighting austerity and privatization since. They probably know the words across town too, where a simultaneous march along an even longer route on the even poorer black West Side was going on.
But it isn’t just CTU members who know the words. The progressive tribes have been gathering in Chicago with force, efficiency, creativity, trust and solidarity, building a bona fide, citywide protest culture. And it’s working. Days before these marches, Mayor Emanuel, who has been talked up in some circles as possibly the first Jewish president, told the Chicago Sun-Times, “I am not running for higher office—ever.” This purring protest infrastructure is one of the major reasons why.
To many national observers, this rebirth of the city’s militant protest culture seemingly came out of nowhere. But it didn’t. It’s the product of years of organizing from sources both expected and surprising. And while the radicalized CTU under the leadership of Karen Lewis has deservedly received much of the credit, the teachers union is just the current tip of the spear in a long and potentially transformative movement.
This is what making Education and Health into markets is all about.....testing and evaluation data that will be sold to education businesses for research and marketing. Same with your online health data......THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS WILL ALWAYS GO FOR PROFIT OVER PEOPLE!!!!! DON'T ALLOW THE DNC TO CHOOSE YOUR CANDIDATES!
School Data Profiteering
Tuesday, 18 June 2013 09:26 By Dan Schneider , Dollars & Sense | Report
(Image: Digital People via Shutterstock)Data-collecting software is riling privacy and education activists.
When you were a kid and got in trouble at school, did they ever threaten to “put it in your permanent record?” That’s a scary prospect, knowing that the information could be seen forever by anyone with access to it. But what if that record had more in it than just grades and disciplinary problems? What if it included things like when your parents got divorced, or that you had been homeless for a while?
Starting at the end of last year, a nonprofit organization called inBloom began to test new cloud-based software to collect information from student records and use it to individualize the education a student receives. Much of this individualized instruction will come from third-party for-profit companies that will be granted access to students’ data, effectively giving corporations that deal with inBloom free rein to mine student data as they see fit.
A joint venture of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation, inBloom has a long list of corporate partners, including Amazon, Dell, and Scholastic (maker of The Magic School Busand The Magic Treehouse children’s book series). Originally, inBloom was known as the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC), a Gates Foundation- and NewsCorp-backed organization that had been quietly developing a “set of shared technology services” for several years, in order to “connect student data and instructional materials.”
By 2013’s South-by-Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, SLC had rebranded itself as inBloom. The Gates Foundation is a well-known advocate of charter schools, school-privatization measures, and reforms like increased reliance on standardized testing and merit-based pay. (All these changes are unpopular with teachers and teachers’ unions.)
The information collected by inBloom goes well beyond what’s found in a typical permanent record. The data elements that the inBloom database is set up to collect include “Pregnant Teen,” “Unschooled Refugee,” “Foster Care,” and “Removed by Child Protective Services.” It also includes whether, in a disciplinary incident, a student was a “Victim,” “Perpetrator,” “Witness,” or “Reporter.”
Louisiana is currently inBloom’s largest guinea pig. In addition, the program has been deployed for testing in public school districts in Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado, and North Carolina. New York City’s Department of Education is also participating. Schools in Delaware, Georgia, and Kentucky will begin their own tests of the data-gathering software in fall 2013. In New York City, Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, an advocacy organization for smaller class sizes, has been working diligently to make parents across the country aware of what their school districts may be doing. “There’s not a single school district that’s allowing parents the right of consent, or to opt out of the program,” Haimson told Dollars & Sense.
In the past, the group has fought and won battles against Scholastic, for distributing a curriculum to fourth graders that was sponsored by the coal industry, and the Needham, Mass.-based company BusRadio, for advertising to students on school buses. Now, CCFC is working with the ACLU and Massachusetts PTA to fight inBloom, out of concerns that students’ information could be exploited for financial gain by private corporations. “Unlike school officials who are trained and have specific rules and restrictions about the use of student data, these are huge companies with lots of divisions that this data would be interesting to,” CCFC associate director Josh Golin told Dollars & Sense. “There’s no provision other than good faith that the data won’t be shared internally.”
Equally worrisome to Golin is the role teachers would play under the inBloom system. “The role of the teacher is to input data, to be a data collector, and to pass on lessons designed by algorithms and apps back to their students. The expertise is in the cloud, not in the teacher,” Golin said.
This article is from the May/June 2013 issue of Dollars & Sensemagazine.